When we want to understand the dynamical processes that go on at the nanoscopic scale, such as chemical reactions, structural changes in solids and liquids, and the conversion of light to electrical currents, we are often challenged by the fact they occur at ultrafast timescales. To fully capture what is going on we need to observe these processes with both high spatial resolution (sub-nanometre) and at an extreme temporal resolution (at the femtosecond timescale i.e. 0.000,000,000,000,001 s). This task is made fully possible for the first time by two recently developed X-ray light sources; high harmonic generation from optical lasers and X-ray free electron lasers. I will discuss this new measurement frontier and some of the science and technology upon which it is beginning to have an impact.
This series of colloquia sees the light driven by the shared interest of several Institutes of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) that want to bring to society the latest scientific advances and the vision of the world arising from them.
The ultimate goal is transmitting the message that science is a public good that must be made approachable to all citizens. An effective way to send this message is through the dissemination of knowledge that combines rigor with accessibility. With this spirit, this series wants to gather internationally renowned personalities from a variety of research fields and from the world of culture, so that they share their experience with the general audience.